SFA Drops 5-4 Heartbreaker in Home Opener
Feb. 27, 2014
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Stephen F. Austin was one out away from a memorable home opener, holding a 4-3 lead on 26th-ranked Texas Tech in the top of the ninth inning. But the Red Raiders connected on a two-RBI double, then withstood a final Lumberjack rally to hand SFA a 5-4 loss at Jaycees Field.
The loss drops SFA to 3-5 on the season with all five defeats coming at the hands of nationally-ranked programs, including one-run defeats to the Red Raiders and 21st-ranked Alabama.
SFA jumped on Texas Tech (8-1) early, scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning. After a single and a stolen base for leadoff hitter Matthew Dickey, Joseph Olson singled to center to drive him in for the game's first run. Olson then scored after Tech issued a bases loaded walk, giving the `Jacks the 2-0 lead after the first inning.
The Red Raiders responded in the top of the third as Mason Randolph hit a two-run homerun, evening the score at 2-2. It would stay that way until the top of the sixth when Texas Tech's Eric Gutierrez scored on a sacrifice fly, giving the Red Raiders their first lead of the game at 3-2.
SFA answered in the bottom half of the inning as Brett Thornell drove in his younger brother Kyle, knotting the game at 3-3 after six innings. The brotherly duo teamed up once again in the eighth as after a double from Kyle Thornell, Brett notched a single two batters later to give the `Jacks the 4-3 lead.
The `Jacks appeared poised to take another victory over a nationally-ranked team, recording a pair of outs against the Red Raiders in the top of the ninth. But Gutierrez notched a double to left field which scored a pair of Tech runners. SFA threatened in the ninth as Zach Marberry advanced to second with two outs, but a hard hit grounder back to the pitcher sealed the `Jacks fate.
SFA looks to erase the tough loss in its home opener as the `Jacks open up a three-game series against UT-Martin Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Jaycees Field. The `Jacks and Skyhawks then meet up at 2 p.m. Saturday before the series finale Sunday at 1 p.m.